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Contingent Workforce on the Rise — Especially in the Tech Industry

Joseph Nordlinger's picture

In the IT world, contingent hiring has been rising steadily, but now, for the first time, there appears to be a divide based on company size. I recently read an article in Computerworld that reports that full-time hiring is up in large businesses, even as overall data suggests a clear trend toward short-term contracts.

According to research firm Computer Economics, the contingent workforce at large companies fell to 10 percent of total staff this year from 15 percent in 2013. The company's vice president, John Longwell, says this is a result of the economic recovery which is giving organizations the confidence to start hiring full time again.

In a separate survey, Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) found that, overall, temporary workers make up 18 percent of the workforce. That number is virtually unchanged from last year, and SIA expects it to climb to 20 percent by 2016. That conclusion is in line with TEKsystems' report that 36 percent of IT firms plan to increase their contingent hiring next year.

SIA vice president John Osborne suggests that as demand for contingent workers continues to rise, it's important for companies to stay mindful of the right balance between full-time and contract workers. Contingent workers can make up more than 50% of the workforce, especially at tech companies. Osborne warns that there is an upper limit of how much companies should rely on contingent workers and that in order to maintain an effective workforce companies need to make sure they are finding the right balance.

SIA reports that contingent workers often make more per hour on average than their full-time counterparts. So, with contract hiring increasing and with opportunities to make more money per hour, Osborne advises that if your skill set is in high demand, contingent work could be the right path for you.

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